Do you call upon your optimism and hope to help you move your career and business forward?

I recently read Deborah Mills-Scofield’s article in Harvard Business Review on Hope is a Strategy that opened my eyes to how optimism and hope (based on reality) can give us the fuel and energy to push forward, even when times are tough. Mills-Scofield describes hope as, “the belief that something is possible and probable, and the recognition that the degree of each is not necessarily equal.”

She goes on to say, “When hope is based on real-world experience, knowledge and tangible and intangible data, it results in trust, which is necessary to implementing any strategy. Without faith in the people, processes and technologies involved, how can we achieve anything? Hope recognizes the reality that failure happens, success is not assured, the laws of physics don’t change and prudence is needed to discern when to persevere — and when to pivot. Hope doesn’t demarcate a linear path, but it does guide us through twists and turns. Hope views the glass as half full, not half empty. Hope supports realistic optimism, a necessary component of success.”

I believe the lessons here are important:

  1. Success is not guaranteed, but if you give up, you will never reach your goals.
  2. Understand that you can learn from your failures and use this information to modify your behavior or strategy going forward for positive results.
  3. Your career path is not necessarily linear. There is more than one way to reach your goals. Look at all opportunities and evaluate them for their potential.
  4. Get to know your colleagues and direct reports and build trusting relationships that will help you and them succeed.
  5. Create realistic goals and expectations so you avoid sabotaging yourself from the start.
  6. Life can be challenging. Use your optimism and faith to keep you moving forward.

I would love to hear from you. How you have called upon your optimism to help you in your career and life?